MANILA — The Directors' Guild of the Philippines (DGPI) on Monday denounced the latest advisory of the Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP) that outlines requirements for new-normal productions, describing the measure as "disturbing."
The FDCP, in Advisory 06 that was released over the weekend, detailed further, clarificatory guidelines regarding production shoots under the new normal due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Aside from earlier outlined protocols regarding safety and health on set, the FDCP now said productions are required to register with the government agency, seven days prior to a shoot.
The FDCP also enumerated its nationwide scope to include productions in television, advertising, and live events, among others.
In a statement on Monday, the DGPI branded the FDCP's advisory as "regulatory intrusion," noting that the same concerns regarding shoot registration and the scope being beyond films were already brought up in a prior meeting.
"Yet the release of this advisory underlines a disturbing turn of events about the mandate of FDCP," the statement said, specifying the mandatory report of productions a week before the shoot, and the listed national jurisdiction of the agency.
The DGPI said that while it lauds the FDCP for its "development programs and achievements," the group "protests and denounces its overreach into regulatory and oversight functions over productions."
The directors' guild also called on government agencies, including the FDCP, to consult stakeholders, in this case film workers, in deliberations on regulatory matters. It noted that the FDCP "does not necessarily represent film workers or producers."
"As the film industry struggles to get back on its feet, the DGPI reiterates that it opposes any form of additional agency intrusion on productions. Not during a pandemic. Not ever. The slippery slope from 'reporting' to 'monitoring' to 'controlling' is steep and dangerous to freedom of expression," it said.
"The DGPI says NO to FDCP Advisory 06."
Film director and producer Erik Matti, in a separate statement, echoed the criticisms of the DGPI, saying that instead of "holding the hands of the industry and find ways for us to survive," the FDCP has "managed to divide this industry with their arbitrary mandates that are so far off from the needs of the industry."
The guidelines the FDCP has been releasing in recent months, Matti said, will only "further restrict our business."
He noted that while the FDCP has been holding "consultations" with some industry workers, none of their concerns have been addressed.
"It just leaves everyone scratching their heads asking, 'Does FDCP really truly want to help this industry or do they just want to assert their power over us in the name of health and safety?'" Matti wrote.
"How hard is it to listen to us working on the ground? How difficult is it to see and feel the present economic situation of not just our industry but the entire country to know that we need help rather than inane restrictions and bureaucratic red tape?"
The mission of the FDCP, Matti pointed out, is "to recognize Filipino artistry in films, promote our country and its talents globally, protect our film cultural heritage, and empower every Filipino through film development and education," as its official website provides.
"Nowhere does it say that they can regulate the industry unless maybe a bill is passed giving them that power. With or without the pandemic, it's time we question the mandate of FDCP. It's time we ask how far can they enforce their whims on our industry. It's time we fix this ailing industry before this clueless FDCP runs us to the ground."